Arkansas Model State Program 2023-2024

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $22,000.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
State Coordinator:
Dr. Amanda McWhirt
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The Arkansas 2023-2024 SARE PDP Model State Program will focus on increasing knowledge and developing skills in different aspects of urban farming. The developed trainings and events will be made available to Cooperative Extension staff, UA and UAPB faculty, staff and students, USDA staff, farmers’ market managers, other agriculture professionals, and farmer leaders. Proposed activities include a multi-part urban farming series covering hydroponics, aquaculture, pollinators, and poultry as well as providing travel scholarships for agriculture leaders to attend regional meetings focused on sustainable agriculture. Program participants will be assessed for changes in their knowledge, confidence, and ability to share new information related to sustainable agriculture. As a result of these trainings and workshops, the knowledge of, interest in, and application of sustainable practices by Arkansas farmers and agriculture professionals will continue to expand in Arkansas, leading to thriving farms and vibrant communities.

Project objectives from proposal:

Our annual SARE-PDP plan is developed through the input of the state advisory board, county extension agents and specialists, and previous workshop participants. The 2023-2024 program builds on past programs and relationships and addresses areas of interest by producers and ag leaders.  We continue to invest in sending agents and farmer mentors to conferences that provide sustainable agriculture-focused training including the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable conference, the Southern Family Farmers & Food Systems Conference, and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference. These conferences are well-received by our agents and farmer leaders and are opportunities for them to gain new information and engage in sustainable agriculture networks.

There is a growing interest in urban farming as the demand grows for locally-sourced foods. To support this growing interest, we plan to provide a four-part training series that targets different aspects of urban farming: hydroponics, aquaculture, pollinators, and poultry. The diversity of training topics will provide us with the opportunity to highlight facilities practicing different types of urban farming across the state. These trainings will also allow agricultural professionals to hear from specialists in these fields and receive updated information and resources on these urban farming practices that they can share with their communities.

Based on this information, our outreach objectives for the AR-SARE PDP program include:

  1. UADA-CES agents, farmers, and other agricultural professionals will increase their knowledge of different aspects of urban farming: hydroponics, aquaculture, poultry, and pollinators.
  2. UADA-CES agents will travel to the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference, and the Southern Family Farmers & Food Systems Conference to increase their awareness and knowledge of sustainable agriculture concepts and will be better equipped to provide farmers with guidance on implementing new practices on their farm.
  3. Agriculture professionals in Arkansas (UADA-CES agents and specialists, NRCS staff, farmers market managers, farmer leaders) will increase their recognition of the SARE program through promotion of SARE and SSARE resources, AR-SARE PDP activities on listservs and blog through increased visibility at events around the state.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.